My Tole Mour Experience
It was about 0800 when Erin and Eliza dropped me off at Tole Mour’s dock. It seemed like they were my parents, all happy and excited to see their young daughter go off on a new adventure. After they left, the crew on Tole Mour showed all the trainees which bunk section we would be staying in. I was staying in the section called Santa Rosa, with two other girls. We were able to pick our own bunks, so I choose the forward most bunk with a porthole view, which later became a problem on my part (seasickness).
About 0930, all hands were called forward for a muster. Captain Snark and Holly gave the welcome speech, talked about the boat, and gave information about the race. They showed us the course and explained the rules of the race. At that point I was very excited because I’ve never been part of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series. After a clear understanding that we were going to win, they wanted us all to introduce ourselves, so we had to answer 3 questions. What is your name? Where are you from? And what’s your favorite animated Disney movie? With that, I learnt that most of the crew was from the mid-west and there were a lot of animated Disney movies I haven’t seen. By the way, I’m from New York and my favorite animated Disney movie is “The Tigger Movie.” After a round of funny but interesting introductions, we were given our sea watches. I was placed in watch one, with 4 crew members and 5 trainees. The first thing we did was reintroduce ourselves to each other, then did a tour of the boat. While we were touring the boat, the crew members spoke to us about drills and muster stations; within the next 10 minutes, we heard an alarm and the crew shouting “abandon ship drill, abandon ship drill.” Everyone gathered to their muster stations and donned life jackets. After the drill, we all mustered forward again to get divided into two activity stations: line handling and marlinspike & seamanship. My first activity was line handling; they showed us how to make a line off to a pin, take a line off the pin safely and how to coil. Also they taught us the terms they use when handling lines, like ”made ready” which means have a top and bottom turn on the pin and “super ready” which means to only have a bottom turn on the pin.
The race stared at 1400. We crossed the starting line about a minute after the race started with Irving Johnson next to us and Exy Johnson and Bill of Rights behind us. It was a wonderful sight, seeing the cliffs of San Pedro behind us as we sailed towards San Clemente Island and San Diego. We had great wind conditions the whole trip. While we were sailing past Catalina Island, we spotted two whales in the distance. It was an amazing sight, especially for me because I never see any sea mammals in New York Harbor.
My watch that night was from 0000 to 0400; that was my first time sailing through the night. And it was just horrible – from the moment I got on deck, I felt sea sick. A crew member gave me some ginger ale, crackers, and some tips on how to stop feeling sick, but none of that prevented me from throwing up at least 5 times in a red bucket that was labelled “you will feel better :)” but, on the plus side, while I was coming up for air, I noticed about 1000 starts in the sky, and no other boats around us.
We had breakfast at 0700 and I felt much better. Shortly after breakfast, the captain announced that we had crossed the finish line and all the other boats were about 3 hours behind us. So, of course, everyone on board was thrilled on our possible win of the race. We turned on our engines, struck all sails, and began motoring towards La Jolla for some more activities. At 1030, we anchored off of La Jolla to do some snorkeling and some shanty singing. I chose to go snorkeling, so I got fitted for a wet suit, mask, boots, and fins. After a half hour of me struggling to put everything on, I entered the water, feet first to start an underwater adventure. The water was surprisingly warm and clear, so that didn’t stop us from seeing 10 leopard sharks, 2 horn sharks and a lot of sea grass. We got back on the boat in time for dinner, which I can say was amazing, then continued with some lovely shanty singing led by the crew and trainees.
My last moments on Tole Mour were the best. While heading back to the dock, a pod of dolphins followed us for about 2 hours, having fun with their babies, jumping in and out of the water and crossing under our bow. It was an amazing sight that I only got on video and soon hope to share with a lot more people.
I loved the people I sailed with on Tole Mour and looking forward to more adventures on the sail up to Dana Point.